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Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by gilmourstrat, Sep 24, 2021.
If I was ready to buy another strat I'd get one lightly used with an ash body.
Unfortunately for me a new strat purchase is far down my list of priorities.
Many thanks for all the replies. Really appreciated your input.
It's not my first Strat, but, maybe because we all got "playing" or "tone phases" I always ended up selling or trading my Strats. So, in chronological order (of owning not the age of the guitar itself!):
'95 AM Standard Sunburst RW
'01 AM Series Oly White RW (damn I REALLY miss this guitar!!!)
'09 Classic Series 50's Black MN
'14 Classic Player 50's Shoreline Gold MN
'15 Classic Player 60's Oly White RW
'14 AM Standard Ash Sienna Sunburst MN
'09 Road Worn 50's Black MN
I think this is about covers it... I tend to play Classic to Hard Rock, so I always gravitate to humbuckers more than single coils but I always have that itch for a Strat. Of course I sold/trade all of the above so that must mean something...
Now I'm more in a phase that I try to keep all of the guitars instead of just selling them/trade them when another GAS come in... so maybe the time is now?
The MIM Player seems an obvious choice but after getting a case and locking tuners the price will get near a used AM Standard/AM Pro... first world problems I know...
I would buy a nice MIJ and it wouldn't be a Fender...
Just go get the American Strat. You are going to eventually wind up with one anyway.
I think I'm going to respectfully disagree with this take.
FMIC makes some very fine instruments-- I will never talk trash about their quality-- I'm just bored with the endless, infinitesimal incrementalism in their design refinements. Having said that, the American Professional II and American Ultra guitars now featuring a re-shaped neck heel is, IMHO, the first worthwhile refinement they've implemented since the beginning of the American Standard line back in the late-80's (?).
The Strat-like instrument I happen to be (currently) impressed with is the Music Man Cutlass SSS. It's made by a former Leo company, is unapologetic in it's "Stratiness", and, at least to me, represents a rather natural evolution of the Stratocaster design, with what I consider, worthwhile design tweaks-- a headstock shape that eliminates the need for a string tree; excellent upper-fret access combined with a sculpted neck heel; an easily-accessible "wheel" truss rod adjustment; and a control layout more to my liking, particularly where the volume knob is concerned (similar to a Charvel San Dimas). Below is the "Sterling by Music Man" version (made in Indonesia-- there is also an American-made version that has an active hum-cancelling circuit) in Daphne Blue:
You are becoming a man now, grasshoper. Buy it, play it, and let the spirit guide your fingers.
First of all, I love the differing opinion on this. This is what makes forums great, and it’s more useful for the OP to hear all sides.
What interesting is that I’ve shared your same opinion for a long time, and only recently has the pendulum swung the other direction. For years I wanted anything but Fender and Gibson guitars. I also wanted only boutique amps. Things that improved on previous designs. Over the years of tone chasing and playing a lot of boutique and custom built stuff, I was never completely happy with the sound for one reason or another. Then I plugged a Fender Strat into a Deluxe Reverb and that was the sound. Again, that is just me, and I’m sure other have been very satisfied with the sound and feel of other guitars (That Music Man looks awesome btw. I’ve always liked their vibe), but no Strat Style guitar has ever completely scratched my Strat itch, besides a Strat. YMMV.
Step 1.Get a middle of the road strat copy(it might be ibanez,esp,low level fender doesnt matter) as long as its 25.5 inch scale and SSS or HSS.
Step 2.Replace the electronics with an excellent set of boutique pickups(whatever your consider the best)
Step 3.Assemble the thing and play.
Whoa seeing your previously owned Strat's is really interesting. I'm with most of the guys here, if I had $/€1200 to spend I'd look for a later period American Standard. I just bought a 2014 last month and it's been incredible; the Fat 50's pickups really make it a huge bang for the buck guitar. But you write that you've had a 2014 US Strat, lol.
It's a personal decision but since you have some really good experience with MIM & US Strat's I think you're going to be heading where you need to be.
If you're open to a Strat style guitar made by another company then I'm with @0utputXfmr , you can get seriously cool single coil goodness with a Music Man/Ernie Ball guitar. The Cutlass is great but I really like the Albert Lee Signature model with single coils. Either one would be a great guitar.
I agree on the Cutlass - even though there isn't much Leo DNA in the current Music Mans; they charted their own path after Leo tried (and eventually succeeded) to drive his former partners to bankruptcy while he cruised on down the road with G&Ls. Ernie Ball rescued the company from bankruptcy; really the only Leo-era design that had any popularity was the StingRay bass, which EBMM quickly put back into production.
The current Cutlass is pretty much an EBMM creation - taking Leo's old Sabre body shape and turning it into a Strat competitor with a really great V-to-C neck shape that is kind of like a slimmer Eric Johnson Strat neck. The original Leo-era Sabres were HH guitars with fully active electronics (like the MM basses) and no tremolos, and of course Leo's 3-bolt neck design. The Cutlass name was used by Music Man in the post-Leo/pre-bankruptcy time period - the "Cutlass I" was the StingRay bass with a graphite neck, the "Cutlass II" was the Sabre bass with a graphite neck, and they did prototype a Cutlass guitar that was the Sabre guitar with a graphite neck and a Kahler tremolo, but only 2 or 3 prototypes of that exist. But the name was part of the intellectual property that Ernie bought in 1984.
If you weren't happy with any of these I don't know if you'll be happy with any Strat. Maybe you could figure out exactly what you want and build a partscaster.
I think I'd try the DC3. I have a PRS SE EG and it's the most "stratty" sounding guitar I have. I'm tempted to stick the pickups in my partscaster, but I don't think it'll work out somehow.
I already played the DC3 at the store. Fit & finish are flawless as one would expect, it's not a typical strat sound - it's more round and mellow. The bridge pickup is amazing but again... it's not a typical "Strat"...
I agree, the PRS looks anemic with the fingerboard very, very pale.
That said I love the body honey colour!
It's not going to sound like a Strat, those glassy dynamics and scooped mids produce tones that SRV, HENDRIX, KNOPFLER and others do.
It's a really hard decision to be making if your eyes take control.
If you let your ears have it, it's very straight forward to decide.
I would second that, here's
my MIJ and it aint no Fender. 2016 Tokai SS88 Silver Star.
Yes, this! It is a lot of fun picking all of the parts and such.
What I wanted in a guitar was not available from Fender, likely never will be.
Play both. They’re different. I like both. My Asian made PRS is the best built instrument I own, hands down, not my favorite though. I like the sounds I pull out of another one more. My strat is a classic, and a lot of times I what the strat can do. It’s weird, my strat isn’t my favorite either, but if I was in a situation where I had one guitar, no doubt it would be my strat.